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“Like every subject of sculpture we had seen in this country, the personage had earrings, bracelets on the wrists, and a girdle round the loins. The headdress differs from most of the others at Palenque in that it wants the plume of feathers. Near the head are three hieroglyphics. The other figure, which seems that of a woman is sitting cross-legged [kneeling PJ on the ground, richly dressed, and apparently in the act of making an offering. In this supposed offering is seen a plume of feathers, in which the headdress of the principal personage is deficient. Over the head of the sitting personage are four hieroglyphics. This is the only piece of Sculptured Stone about the the Palace (Temple) except those in the courtyard. Under it formerly stood a table [altar PJ of which the impression against the wall is still visible.”
It will be observed that the above Sculpture is the only one in Stone in the interior of the Temple; and from the image of the Sun suspended from the neck of the principal figure, whose countenance is “calm and benevolent,” and the richly-attired kneeling figure making an offering, the Sculpture seems to represent the Apollo of the Aborigines receiving a tributary gift. The “Table” underneath and in front, is in the very position of an Altar-table, upon which may have been placed the votive offerings of the living, in imitation of the Sculpture above the Altar. In a similar manner the more modern altar of the Christians is placed, for it is stationed beneath the artistical object of worship or the tables of the Decalogue. A painting
over a Christian altar, of the Magii adoring the Infant SAVIOUR, and thereby calling for similar worship from the living, will completely illustrate the sculptured altar-piece of Palenque. We think that this will be admitted, and being so it establishes that this great edifice was one of the chief Temples of the Aborigines, erected by them for the worship of their God of light and heat—viz., the Sun. This may then have been the Mecca-shrine of the Kingdom, to which all the nation made their annual pilgrimage; and especially do we believe this to have been the case, from the fact of the stucco being placed upon the stone, and the former illustrating a later Religion than that proved by the stone-sculpture; and the Religion being partially changed (as will be shewn hereafter), still it was the chief Temple for the assemblage of the people, and from which, perhaps, from the Tower of the Temple, was promulgated not only any change in the form of Religious worship, but also in the Laws of the country. Every thing indicates that this edifice was the Aboriginal Temple of the Sun: if it was the Palace, again would we ask, where is the Temple? for in all ancient nations, the edifice in which was performed the Religion of the country, was of more importance than any earthly residence. Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome, possessed the Temple, the Parthenon, the Capitol, and the Pantheon; Tyrus, Carthage, and Palmyra, their gorgeous Temple to Apollo (i. e. the Sun); Italy, England, and France, justly boast of their Churches sacred to St. Peter,
St. Paul, and the Mother of the Saviour !—and the great Mahommedan family point with religious joy to the Shrine at Mecca ; and why then should the Aborigines of the Western Hemisphere be an exception ?
The jewelled Temples of the Sun (i.e. of Apollo), that in Mexico and Peru tempted the blood-stained feet of Cortez and Pizzaro, were but the types of the original at Palenque; for the latter was in ruins when the Spanish pirates landed, and none of their historians even allude to the desolation of past ages, so engrossed were they with that of their own
Another description of a piece of Sculpture (in stucco) upon a building near the Temple of Palenque, will be reserved for illustrating a powerful similitude to a Tyrian branch of worship. This will receive a full investigation in the chapter devoted to the national Analogies.
On the map of the Ruins of Palenque, and in the descriptions (as furnished in Mr. Stephens's work), the Temple, and five other edifices, all rise from a pyramidal base, having four sides ; this fact will again be brought forward in refutation of one of his architectural conclusions.
THE RUINS OF Uxmal.
These monuments of antiquity are situated in Yucatan, the great Peninsula of Mexican America.
“Emerging suddenly from the woods, to my astonishment, we came at once upon a large open field strewed with mounds of ruins, and vast buildings on terraces, and pyramidal structures, grand, and in good preservation, richly ornamented, without a bush to obstruct the view; and in picturesque effect, almost equal to the Ruins of Thebes. [Egypt] Such was my report I made to Mr. Catherwood on my return, who, lying in his hammock unwell, and out of spirits, told me I was romancing; but early the next morning we were on the ground, and his comment was, that the reality erceeded the description s” It should be remembered that the above distinguished artist (Catherwood) had visited and copied the Ruins of Thebes and Egypt generally, and consequently his testimony is of more than common authority. “The place of which I am now speaking (Uxmal) was, beyond all doubt, once a large, populous, and highly civilized city, and the reader can nowhere find one word of it on any page of history. Who built it?—why it was located on that spot, away from water, or any of those natural advantages which have determined the sites of cities whose histories are known, what led to its abandonment, no man can tell. The only name by which it is known, is that of the Hacienda [i. e. farm-plantation] on which it stands. In the oldest deed, belonging to the Peon family [i. e. the owners], which goes back a hundred and forty years, the buildings are referred to in the boundaries of the
estate as Las Casas de Piedra [i. e. the stone-houses]. This is the only ancient document or record in existence, in which the place is mentioned at all. The Ruins were all exhumed: within the last year the trees had been cut down and burned, and the whole field of Ruins was in view.” “ * * * “In attempting a description of the Ruins, so vast a work rises up before me, that I am at a loss where to begin.” “ * * * “Drawn off by mounds of ruins and piles of gigantic buildings, the eye returns, and again fastens upon a lofty structure. It was the first building I entered. From its front doorway I counted sirteen elevations [buildings], with broken walls and mounds of stones, and vast magnificent edifices, which at that distance seemed untouched by time and defying ruin. I stood in the doorway when the Sun went down, throwing from the buildings a prodigious breadth of shadow, darkening the terraces on which they stood, and presenting a scene strange enough for a work of enchantment. This building [i. e. in which he viewed the scene] is sixty-eight feet long. The elevation on which it stands, is built up solid from the plain, entirely artificial. Its form is not pyramidal, but oblong, and rounding, being two hundred and forty feet long at the base, and one hundred and twenty feet broad, and it is protected all around, to the very top, by a wall of square stones.” The terms of the last sentence are in direct opposition to the description,-for the elevation is distinctly pyramidal. It does not require a square base only